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Mickey Edwards Education. (2012) 'The Parties Versus the People How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans.' New.

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California 8, Washington 6, Oklahoma 3, Obama 2, Keith Olbermann 2, Christine O'donnell 2, Barack Obama 2, Massachusetts 2, Delaware 2, Mickey Edwards 2, Charles Smith 1, Steve O'sullivan 1, Romney 1, Steve Hamlin 1, Michele Obama 1, John Hunt 1, Limbaugh 1, Ross Perot 1, Unserious 1, The American Bar Association 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Mickey Edwards  Education.  (2012) 'The Parties Versus  
   the People How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into...  

    September 9, 2012
    7:00 - 8:00pm EDT  

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that they didn't know it back then? >> part of this book is kind of the biography of an attitude that existed and it's one of the reasons i find it so compelling. in the nation of couch boston as particular his fast-growing city within this proud and prideful country. this attitude that we could do anything. that is when we were seriously taking on the panama canal. chongging for two decades after thousands of lives we were just going to d o it was the attitude of the time. new york city was doing the subway system, digging in the first highway system which was a hard thing to do at that age. some wise soul had written everything that would ever have been invented would be. so there was this attitude, there was this attitude that
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ultimately killed galveston on the day of that storm and that is what the book is really about, technological hubris mixed with the uncontrollable force coming and if anything i think that conflict was even more deeply felt today. ..
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>> they all came up with the same thing in the last 20 years. my question was which stands in the last 10 years was one the most feared? >> [inaudible question] [talking over each other] >> wasn't this a monstrous thing that was literally about 800 miles wide that when of the entire eastern seaboard?
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>> i think that is correct. >> lois? >> within the last five years or so, if you've never heard about it, the reason that hurricane opal was so significant is in regards to the astonishment at how big it was. a hurricane never haymes predictably -- the computer modification was pretty good. it never behaves predictably.
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it actually has the power to behave pathologically. that is something that i want to drive home. her king arthur again mostly as a category one storm moving at about 10 miles per hour. you know, a hurricane that you are taking seriously but evacuations took some time. a couple of other interesting elements there. for some strange reason, the entire quarter around pensacola was under heavy construction, which is not something we want to have in the hurricane sason. when things began to get carried was the night of the o.j. simpson verdict. [laughter] so that suddenly came underplayed.
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suddenly, in a matter of hours, transcend opal started. 10 miles an hour and then 20 miles an hour -- and suddenly you had hurricane opal, a catastrophic hurricane. people stop watching. they wanted to watch the o.j. simpson verdict. everybody leaves at the same time with hurricanes. it is so jammed that literally nothing is moving. meanwhile, meteorologists, everybody, people are sitting in their cars. they are not going anywhere. people actually begin running
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from their cars to high ground. then opal did something very benign. she lost most of her power, took an interesting turn. the whole thing could have killed up to thousands. anyway, that wraps up our time. thank you all for coming. [applause] is an easter for more history programming, check out american history television >> people in evidence that help document the past. visit c-span.org/history. former republican congressman mickey edwards argues that
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american political parties have it obtained too much power. he says it that disenfranchises voters and hurts the letter should lay the process. this is a little under one hour. [applause] >> you know, this is going to be very hard. because after i left congress, i became a teacher. i taught at harvard for 11 years and at princeton. those of you who are teachers know, you don't stand still. you say that i'm going to obey the rules and from here i usually walk around. i would walk down the aisle at i had one -- that or by congress, it would be a very wide aisle. people would not talk to the ones on the outside of the site -- but thank you very much for coming. i really appreciate the chance to talk about my book and my
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ideas and what led me to write this. it is something that has been in my mind for a very long time. we had to skip quickly and come back, let me quickly say to you -- as we were talking here about how depressing it is and is there any way out and i want to tell you that there is a way out. we can change the system. there are ways to change the system. we can make the government work, but it's going to take very fundamental changes and grassroots changes that are going to take the political system and turn it upside down. let me give you some examples of what i mean. either by the way, who is going to do that? you are going to do it. we have a system where when the people demand change, change will happen. if you don't change and you don't demand change -- it just won't. let me give you a couple examples of what began to dawn on me years ago.
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when i was in congress, i have the habit of having a lot of town meetings, neighborhood meetings with constituents like this. i might have half a dozen people there or i might have 200 people there. you would engage about the issues that are in front of the congress. and what you were thinking. in the book, in the acknowledgments, i didn't dedicate it to this person, but i acknowledge the person even though i don't remember his name. i don't remember what he was about. but somebody stood up and one in my town meetings and he wanted to know why did you not do this or that. there is somebody who always wants to know why did you not do x. i didn't even remember what x was. i do what politicians do. i introduced a bill, but the other party controlled the congress. the other party decided whether
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or not you could get bills brought forward to the floor. they decided whether or not you can have a hearing. the other party did it. somebody stood up in that room and said, i am so sick and tired of hearing democrat this, a republican that, everyone in the room it up and cheered, and i never did it again. later i went off and started teaching. the one thing is -- it's not that you get potomac fever when you're in washington were at the charles river fever when you're in cambridge. but you have time to reflect and to think and to say, how did this happen? what is not working? why is it not working? look back at what he saw him and here is what i saw developing in congress. it doesn't matter what the issue is. this is not going to spice any of you at all. it doesn't matter what the issue
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is. it doesn't matter whether it is a tax bill, supreme court nomination -- whatever it is, there is going to be a vote, and every democrat will be on one side and every republican is going to be on the other side. it is like we have to separate congresses. not a united states congress, but a republican congress and a democratic congress fighting to take credit and fighting to win the next election. that did not happen by accident. it didn't happen by accident. i believe in the free enterprise system. we have created a political system in which every incentive is to not cooperate, to not optimize. to not talk to somebody who has different ideas than their own. it is great to be fewer under principle, but we are a nation of 310 million people.
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we have different experiences and different ideas that we feel strongly about. at some point, no matter how deeply you feel about something from you have to be able to sit down with someone who has a different idea and find where where the overlap is and find where you can give a little and get a little and get the bridges built. legitimate constitutional programs, and making them happen. let me tell you how we created this. and by the way, just so you know, about how bad the political party system is, the first four presidents of the united states -- some people
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don't even like each other that much, but they all agree on one thing. what in washington, adams, jefferson agree on? do not create political parties. they wrote about it. they spoke about it. they said do not create parties. they have parties. some of you who are historians, some are going to say, well, how did they have parties then? welcome and they were nothing like now. they have political parties where they came together on four or five issues, and that was it. on the other issues, i might agree with you one day and opposing the next day and i might agree with you or that person -- that's the way it was. not anymore. not anymore. when george w. bush was president, and the president was issuing presidential statements -- presidential finding
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statements -- where i thought that he was saying he didn't have to obey the law, but you're free to interpret it anyway you want. there was a legitimate, strong argument being made by the president's supporters in favor of why the president had to do finding statements to distance himself from legislation. there were also very strong arguments by people like me saying that that is unconstitutional. so the american bar association appointed a task force to look into these findings statements and i was a member. the president of the aba and i testified before a house committee. guess what? even though a good case was being made by a lot of very good lawyers, that the president was within his rights to issue these findings statements and saying i don't have to follow these provisions of the law, not one single democrat -- not one, saw any merit whatsoever in his argument. even though i thought and a lot
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of other people thought what the president was doing was unconstitutional, the president saying that i don't have to obey the law that i just signed up -- not one republican signed on with it. on issue after issue -- foreign policy or anything else. you divide into these categories. how does that happen? first of all, there is nothing in the constitution that creates political parties and nothing but creates political primaries and nothing in the constitution that allows political parties and party bosses and those to draw congressional district lines. let me talk about this a little bit. because by identifying the problem and what the problem is, you can see where the solution is. and i do believe there are solutions. primary system. there's lot of you but i do know
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some of you. i don't know all of you. when you go to the store, you want choice. that's what we want. we want a choice in things that we get in things that we think, and things that we have watched, things that we need our choices. we want choices. the only place where we have devised a system to stifle choices in selecting people whether we will go to war, what programs we will create, under the push of the parties, 24 -- well, i will get to that in a second. but because of the push of the parties, almost every single state in the united states has what they call sore loser lost. a sore loser law is that if you
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run in your party's primary and you lose, you cannot be on the ballot in november. i'm going to give you a couple of examples very briefly. some of you will be thinking about what happened to dick lugar in his day. just to show you the numbers, the numbers, in delaware, where there are a million people come up 1 million people in delaware. they had a primary. i don't care whether you would've been for mike castle or who was the democrat at the time, or christine o'donnell. what matters is in the state of a million people, christine o'donnell got 30,000 votes. i'm not good at math, but it seems a small percentage. 30,000 votes out of a million people and mike castle, who is a
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longtime congressman, intuitive than the overwhelming choice of the people to be there to mentor, was not allowed to be on the ballot. in utah, 3 million people, they went to a convention. he could not be on the ballot in november. the great bull of the voters, when they go to the polls to choose who they want in congress -- why do we allow them to tell us that you can only vote a or b? that you can't consider the person that he might have chosen to be your senator. that is what we have done with the party primary system created by law, by the parties, not a
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result of anything in the constitution. let me give you a nod of appreciation. first, let me talk about a provision in the constitution that says that every single representative and senator must be an inhabitant of the state in which they are elected. if you are my constituents, i'm supposed to know you and know your concerns so i can articulate them. well, what happens when the parties control what the district lines look like, they draw the line for party advantage. i am a city dude. to me, groceries come from the grocery store. i've represented oklahoma city,
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i was the first republican elected to my district. so they redo my district from the middle of oklahoma all the way up to the kansas line. halfway across arkansas, a big upside down letter l. here is what happened. for years, this is what's embarrassing -- i said look at what they did to me. poor me. they are supposed to know you and your sister know them. i was a city dude representing wheat farmers and cattle ranchers and smalltime merchants, and i could not articulate well enough what was of importance to them. in the adjoining district, a pool guy was representing a party of the city because it worked for party advantage. now, there is a way to get around that, too. there are other kinds of things
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we can get into with questions about money. there was a story in "the new york times" that was completely wrong. about the super pacs and we are pushing parties out of the way. the democratic system and the two-party sides -- it's just another tool that the two parties are able to use. let me skip over that. let me go to what happens when you are in congress. there is a coup by this moment. there i am with al gore and dan
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quayle and we are there together and we are all equal and members of the same united states congress. that lasted for about 30 seconds in and the cities are done. what happens is you start voting on who will be the speaker and what committees will have how many of this party or that party. you divide along party lines. another embarrassing moment -- how many of you have been to the house floor or have observed the hustler? >> i am speaking to you. some of you are over here, here is another person over here. but there is a lectern. i can barely see it, but there is one lectern for me to talk to all of you.
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i thought, they are going to hear me and i'm going to stand there and there was this gasp. it's like you were going to get cooties if you touched the wrong lectern. what you have is that you speak at supper luck turns, you look at separate computers to look stuff up. and if i wanted to go get a cup of soup order the things you do -- republicans go to one cloakroom and you can't even have soup together. we created that system. there are ways to fix this. what we have created is a system
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where people don't know each other as friends and colleagues. if you are the wrong party, it is to be you and not cooperate with you, because if i cooperate with you, and there are closed party primaries where only the activist vote, by cooperating and compromising, i am going to lose my seat. because that is the incentive system. when you allow the party primary system to decide who will be on the ballot, what you have done is give the activists the most hyper zealous and hyper ideological the ability to keep you off of the ballot if you straight and are not pure enough. it's awful, right? do we have to live with their?
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no, we don't have to live with that. 40% of americans today declare themselves independents. people wonder what happened. scott brown one in massachusetts. i lived there and talk there. there is no such thing as democratic massachusetts -- there are more unenrolled independent voters in massachusetts than democrats or republicans. over 40% of voters have fled. usa today said people are fleeing from political parties and they don't want to be tied to this political party world. they don't want to be in a situation where you have a congress, where if you want to be on the committee, like, sir, i don't know you, but let me assume that you are intelligent at economics and finance and you want to be on the ways and means committee. i would say to you, you know, i am willing to put you on the committee. you can make good laws, but you
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have to promise before we give you that committee position that you are going to stick with the party line on these three or four things that you haven't even heard of yet. you haven't seen the bills yet. but you have to promise that me you're going to stick to the party. that is the way that works. here are some of my recommendations, proposals, in 2006, the people of washington state had had it. they went to the polls because 24 states had initial petitions were the voters could put something on the ballot and change the laws that are wrong. and the people of washington said, we are going to do away with post- party primaries. we are going to say, if you are a qualified candidate -- whatever each state has, or whatever you have to do to qualify -- if you are a qualified candidate, you will be on the ballot. whether you are a democrat,
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republican, green party, libertarian -- all of you who are qualified are going to be on one ballot and every single registered voter is going to get to vote among all of those people. then, if you have a runoff between -- but nobody gets over 50%, you have a runoff. what comes out of that? let's look at the case of two liberal democrats, sherman and berman in california. a district that a liberal democrat was going to win. they ended up as the top two. it's not that surprised we think. no longer can either of them get elected in the general by just appealing to those people who share their ideology. they have to appeal to all of the voters in the district. republican, liberal, conservative, centrist -- whatever. they have to be a representative
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of the people of the district and not a small subset of the district. california did that in 2010. they did away with closed party primaries. other states can do that as well. i think every state needs to do that. to take away from these private clubs. that is all they are. private power seeking clubs. take away their power to keep you off the ballot and keep you as a voter from having the full range of choices. redistricting. thirteen states now, california did it, washington did it as well. california said to heck with this. we are not going to let party leaders to draw districts to suit them. excuse me, what we are going to do is create nonpartisan independent redistricting commissions. thirteen states have done that now. guess what happens? in california, when the power to draw district lines was taken
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away from the parties, and you have to run in a district that encompasses people from both parties -- in the selection, this time -- 12 members of the california delegation, one fourth of the california delegation retired. rather than running in a fair and open elections that everyone had a shot with. that is what you need to do is re-change the district again in the primary system. but the internal workings are at play. in this book, i have a chapter called rearranging the furniture. you know, it's kind of interesting. imagine that you and your beloved other one not getting along. you are having fights. things are tough. so you go to a shrink.
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the shrink says, i will tell you what. let's set this up so that you have to separate couches facing away from each other. you each have your own tv set, and the way we will deal with that is don't talk to each other. [laughter] >> you know, what we need to do is rearrange the congress internally to break that down. we went from highly partisan republican speakers to a highly partisan democratic speaker to a highly partisan republican speaker. they will blame them. speakers of the house believe it is their job to be their party leader. in great britain, they don't think it's the job of either party leader. you have to get votes from another party. in canada, the speaker is not
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partisan. this may shock a few of you that the speaker of the house does house does not even need to be a member of congress. you don't have to pick one of your partisans to be the leader leading you in the congress toward a political war. you can have a congress that works together and says, let's consider all of that legislation and have it out and have serious debates together, so that we think as americans, not as republicans or democrats, but as americans. people say that there are facts. why are their partisan problems? the job is to get information, to get data, to be able to call witnesses. when you have party leaders
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getting to choose who sits on what committee in exchange for promising to go along with the party lines. the first part is the easy part. you can change the laws about primaries and about redistricting. in order to change the rules of congress, how a speaker get elected, whether or not a partisan or nonpartisan staff. the only way to do it is to do what you all are doing tonight. be there and demand at a constituent meeting -- be there and demanded they change. so many members of congress -- they vote with their party 95% of the time.
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if you vote with your party 95% of the time, you are not voting with your constituents and your brain. you are voting with their party. it is up to us to make that change. i was just saying to you that i think the revolution has already begun. people are fleeing from the parties and are sick and tired of it. that is why this book is called -- by the way, i have to back off your little bit. i love the title. i came up with "the parties versus the people" because i think that is exactly what has happened. it is a war by the party and the people against their own advantage. the part i love is how to turn republicans and democrats into americans. i had an article in the atlantic that preceded this book that was a year ago. the editors at the atlantic came up with that. and it served it pretty well. i will stop there and take questions and whatever. [applause]
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>> thank you, maggie. this was a great presentation some of your ideas and how you think things could work -- beyond the redistricting. the one thing in the primaries -- the one thing that i have learned in time is political news in this country. traveling from west to east. the stocks that have been made in washington and california do well, in places such as colorado and iowa have these redistricting commissions as well, and it has created a lot of competition in elections. why don't we begin, and if you are comfortable, please say your name as well. >> yes,?
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>> i am doctor caroline. i am a democrat and a physician. some of the things you're suggesting would help, but i don't think -- the same thing that's on one side on the other. when i was with the federal government, i was at the epa and reagan was president. reagan said the government is not the solution, it's a problem. he thought was very funny to say, oh, i'm from government and i'm here to help you. that was a good laugh line at republican leader. i think the democrats, despite what is going on, have stretched out her hands, barack obama agrees that there will be no taxes in the new budget. just spending cuts. the house democrats and house republicans will not accept it. i don't think it's the same on both sides, and i see that
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suggested also in oklahoma. >> i do suggest it in oklahoma and everywhere -- all over the country. i think people are going to have different ideas about which party is worse than where it came from. certainly, you mentioned, obama's outreach efforts and what he did, nancy pelosi said no, we have won the election and we will write the bills. there are some people on the republican side that are saying totally outrageous and nasty things, but they're having a hard time competing with harry reid in that regard. what we have to do is break it down where people like that can sit down together and say, what is good for the country? not, how do i store score some political points for my party. i agree. about your point about government. you know, one of the ways the ideologues have gotten divided up -- a lot of people think that this is a pretty good country.
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and that madison and the others created a pretty good government. one of the problems i've noticed that everything divides. the government that was created contains the empowerment and constraint. into a certain extent from the left doesn't see the constraint and the right doesn't see the empowerment. you know, there are limits to what government can do, but it can do some things. we created a national government. so i agree with you. we do need to get past that and that governments a problem in some areas and it is the solution in some areas. we need to get past that. >> thank you. >> good evening, congressman. >> good evening, steve. >> i am steve hamlin and i am the chair of the constitution project. two ideas you haven't heard that i want you to talk about, if you will. they both appear to be
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unconstitutional. [laughter] >> oh, no. [applause] >> the first is saying we should allow campaign campaign contributions only from the candidates prospective constituents. nobody else. >> i didn't quite say that, but go ahead. [laughter] >> actually come you gave me a copy of this chapter. then you save, we would be well served by a law mandating that for purposes of campaign contribution that the term person refers to actual individual living, human beings. fork over money. no money from political parties. political campaigns should be paid for by people and only by people. how do you overcome the constitution infirmities and both of those ideas? >> first of all, steve, i think you agree.
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we do have to say he is the chairman of the board of the constitution project. janine is the president and i'm on the board. steve, i had an exchange today with trevor potter, home of the federal election commission, and i laid that out, but i think that you could have law that says only human beings can vote. and i think you could frame it that only living human beings can cast a vote. can contribute which has been equivalent what we did. i do not think that there should be campaign contributions come as you said, from corporations. the idea that a corporation is a person is, goodness, what a stupid idea. [applause] i will tell you, the way the supreme court justices said that
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-- they don't know corporate law. because corporations by definition have powers that an individual would not have. but i don't want corporate money or union money or pac money. i don't want super pac money. i don't want political party money. i want a system that is transparent, open, and open for individuals to contribute to the political campaign. that's what i want. i think we can do a constitutionally. [applause] >> going on to the next question, if i may intervene. >> please. am i speaking too loudly or too softly? three no, that's not the issue. i just want to comment because this is part of a stimulating debate we are having. some years ago when i was that head of common cause and we were promoting a system of campaign contributions, tom foley, who was a non-partisan speaker by every definition of the word.
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we came up with an idea that when you have matching contributions, and if the person were to take matching contributions -- you could condition it that a substantial portion of the contribution should come from within the state. the state of the candidate resides in. that was an effort at trying to balance the thrust of what mickey edwards is saying. is a way of perhaps handling the constitutional infirmity question. it is the thing to think about as we try to fix our campaign finances and move away from corporations being people. thanks to the indulgence. [laughter] >> i will be the daniel going into the lions den. i used to consult for freeman carried. my two patients who were my best patient -- the ugliness of what
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is going on is the racism that has gotten out of control. yesterday's example of vice president joe biden talking about chaining. the real base for barack obama is african-american people. but a lot of people have asked about mitt romney's background to what he did as a kid chopping off hair. michele obama was a director at the university of chicago medical center. she has left alone with limited resources and limited income. i think that is extremely important especially since health care is a huge issue at the present time. >> well said. >> hello, i am charles smith.
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let me try and frame my question. you are proposing a number of structural changes. assuming for a second that they did come a question i have is, in a democracy are, essentially the median voter that makes the difference. changing these laws in terms of voting in primaries, regardless, ultimately, it will change the median voter and there is a lot of evidence, like you sided with your example, the commission on the statement. a lot of scientists say that we live on two different universes. it would strike me when you say that we change anything -- that means that we have to change attitudes. but my question is that one issue that i see is fox news. which is a 24/7 propaganda machine. i'm curious about your views in terms of what is influencer fox
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news on the attitudes and the dialogue in this country, and how is that a barrier to change? >> i will broaden out a little bit by saying that fox at msnbc -- neither one does a lot of good for the country. i suggest -- most people in here are probably anti-violence. i kind of hesitate to say this, but i thought we could actually solve a lot of our nations problems if we took rush limbaugh and keith olbermann and put them in the same bag and drop them off a bridge. but i do think that there are problems on both sides. if i can expand a little bit, that was a great question. and worse things you could do, if you had just authored a book and you want people to buy the book is to stand in the
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bookstore and suggest to them other books they should buy. and i don't know, i know one of them is here. but the book called the righteous mind by john hunt, people learning to understand where other people are coming from. it's a terrific book and the book that came out when i last looked at. this is about four years ago by bill bishop and in texas, he wrote a book called the big sort. which identified the facts that americans today, in large numbers, not everybody, obviously -- but in large numbers -- the only talk to people who think the way they do. they hang out with people and read the same columns, watch the same tv shows, and so forth. the question and your point about attitude -- you are right. it's not just the people, you know, they get elected.
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it is us. we have to learn to be one country. we have to learn to respect each other, even if someone has different views from my own. when i was in congress, i was in the minority. i frequently lost, but i still had good friends. on the other side who voted differently than i did. they saw it differently than i did. you know, you are right. your comment about attitude is very important. >> hello, although i agree with much of what you say, there is a problem. not with what you're saying, but there is -- we have to be cautious that we don't just rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic. many of our problems, both national and international, have layer upon layer of clauses.
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one example is we may beyond the point where geographic representation is the only representation. it might not be sufficient to have all of our representation geographically based. okay. so what i want to know is where are we going to really get a dialog as a people? nationally, internationally, to start to pick apart what is happening to us, what our goals are both near-term and long-term. and also how we will overcome the great forces against us, i.e., the packs, corporations, and in many cases, the government itself. if people have to go out and fight the government to get what they want, so i don't know how we're going to get there and i don't know whether you have the answer. when we do this, there are the
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very organizations and systems that hold us down. do we expect them to a reform sufficiently? >> is a very good question. first of all, i agree with the basic premise of what you're saying. this is a much broader question in my book doesn't really deal with all of it. but we got a lot of other problems. for example, when you talk about, as i did, about growing rush limbaugh and keith olbermann overboard, well, you know, the stations on which they appear are owned by people and the networks are owned by people who are raking in big bucks, you know, while poisoning us. our public school systems do not teach critical thinking. they don't teach civics. we have big changes that we have to make as a society.
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but, you know, maybe that's another book. i've actually already started on a. [laughter] but this one is that -- i didn't get there with this, but you are absolutely right. to your final point, that is why i made the argument at some point, it is up to all of you. when your congressman shows up where your state legislature content shows up, you have to demand that they change their behavior because you are exactly right. they are not going to change it on their own. people are afraid. members of congress -- they are afraid. i hope he doesn't mind me quoting him that i'm going to tell you -- he just lost the election yesterday. cliff stearns from florida. even though you can't tell this by working, i do work out at the house gem and spend time in the house gem. a lot of members are very frustrated by the pressure, you know, not to cooperate and not to be collegial and some of them -- they lost their careers.
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cliff stearns losses yesterday. we have to create support. we have to change the incentive system and support those people who are willing to say, we are one country, let's find a way to work together. >> thank you. bill, i worked in the white house during the reagan administration. there is a lot of merit in what you have to say, of course. i don't know how you change the system. you know, anyone can create a party, ross perot had his party. they didn't have enough interest in him to get elected. first you have to have someone that is going to create enough interest to rival the democrat and republican parties. and i don't see that happening. it will take a lot of money and
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organization. and an individual that can rally people around him or her -- the independents. he talked about the independents having more in common with democrats. that is true, but they are split ways off. there is no movement except the two parties in our country. two parties that can cause enough people to coalesce around him to have an effect. >> i'm not trying to supplant the two parties that we have with another one. the two parties we have are bad enough. who needs more? [laughter] >> so, you know, what i am in favor of is taking away from those parties. you know, i'm trying to put democracy back in and allow people who have the full range of choices about who they want. i don't care if they are republican, democrat, reform
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party -- i don't care. let the people choose which one will best serve them. i'm not trying to get rid of the parties. i'm trying to take away their control over the system back one other comment. i was at a dinner in prague after the president's brother was sitting with us at the table. i said that he and his brother need to form a party. and he said they won't do that because he wants to be for any party that is for democracy. which is what you are advocating now. >> i had the good fortune of meeting him and i thought that was very good standard thing. >> absolutely. >> hello, unlike a lot of people, i am allowed to vote in this election. >> congratulations. [applause] >> a lot of people in my age group don't have the education or the desired to spend all
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their time watching cnn and reading multiple newspapers that there are to get information about the election. so where they get their information from is the mudslinging commercials that are out now by the super pacs. even the politicians like obama last night, who said even though we can't change the super pacs are now, how can we change to actual information about what the politicians will do if they are elected, versus just killing other people's campaigns. >> you know, it's funny. [applause] you are reform is hard. one way we tried to stop at -- stop the nastiness, is requiring some to appear and say i am x and i approve this message. so then they go on in the
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approve the message that is mudslinging. that doesn't help. you know, first of all, i'm sorry that young people don't want to read more sources and get more information. a friend of mine here named steve o'sullivan wrote a book about negative campaigning maybe 10 or 12 years ago. his conclusion, sadly for him, that work for him. this particular campaign has been very light unserious edition, you know, it has been mostly each one talking about how terrible the other one is. that is not just presidential,
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its congressional and everything else. i think the american people would like to have some time. to be able to trust us. we are smart. talk to us about where you want to go, what you want to do. i don't know how to change that, except, if you find something being too negative, just decide you're not going to vote for them. if they start learning that negative campaigning work, you know, political consultants want to win elections. if they find other one strategy doesn't work, maybe they will change it. >> you have stressed the great political divide between the different parties. what about these corporations that play both sides? by lavishing members of both parties, they get special favors -- at the fda, destroying the food system with these genetically modified products that crept into the country that
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are releasing these drugs that are questionable -- better clamping down on whistleblowers. and the revolving door between former politicians who take positions at corporations and vice versa. there are many people who have switched back and forth three times. what kind of chance do we stand when we have this fundamental foundation? >> you know, i think we have to change what we reward and what we don't reward. some people have said to me that i am very candid and varied one, not because i'm not in congress anymore. but john will tell you that this is the way i was in congress. so here's an example about how you change the reward system. >> when i was running, there was a banker who contributed to my campaign. i was very happy.
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i thought wow, he gave my campaign, that's great. it turns out that because of public reports, i later read in the paper that he had also given to my opponent's campaign. he said i'm really for you, when i asked him about it, but i want to make sure that whoever won, i would be remembered. >> and i said that i will. i will remember. that is basically what you have to do. you just have have to have to tell people that if they play the game in a way you don't like, they will lose your support. >> this will be the last question. >> okay. >> you must have some other power over your. >> i was in the restroom and didn't hear the cut off. i'm sorry. >> should never tire?
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remapped [inaudible] >> i heard it has mentioned a constitutional amendment to divorce the senate from space. so that each senator will represent 3.1 million people at the present time. the boundaries to be drawn by the federal commission, which would be bipartisan, so that you would have the party interference and he would no longer have wyoming and alaska, and he would have to senators and a less populous and the district of columbia. [laughter] >> well, without getting into specifics of anything, let me just say i'm glad you made that point. my whole book is about reopening
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the freshness about what kind of little system we have. we have allowed the political parties to dominate the elections and redistricting and in the redistricting way that we do things in congress. let me end with this. the point of my book is not to go moan. i have never wanted to spend my life are moaning about how things are. i laid out exactly what are the systems that have allowed us to go up that are having an affect on our system that we were incivility and punish compromise and cooperation. in the spirit of what he said, i am saying that we need to try to turn the system upside down. but i think it will happen, i think it is starting to happen. you know, maybe you are right that things will move from west to east. i think the american people have had it with a the kind ofst